Skip to comments.Nancy Pelosi's Grip on House Slips (a little seismic shifting here)
Posted on 03/09/2010 8:50:39 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not accustomed to the word shes been hearing far more frequently in recent days: no.
Over the past two weeks, Pelosi has faced a series of subtle but significant challenges to her authority revolts from Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Blue Dog Coalition and politically vulnerable first- and second-term members.
The dynamic stems from an every man for himself attitude developing in the Democratic Caucus rather than a loss of respect for Pelosi, according to a senior Democratic aide. But its making Pelosis life and efforts to maintain Democratic unity harder.
And its noteworthy, in part, because Pelosis signature strength has been a firmer hand than past Democratic leaders an aptitude for wielding raw power in a consensus-minded caucus.
But her inability or unwillingness to dictate when Rep. Charles Rangel would resign his Ways and Means Committee chairmanship and who would replace him is one sign that she is commanding the caucus with less authority.
Although he would give up his gavel the next day, Rangel defiantly pronounced he was still chairman after leaving a come-to-Jesus meeting last Tuesday night in Pelosis ceremonial office next to the House floor. Her first choice to succeed him, Pete Stark of California, was rejected by the Ways and Means Committee members, as was her plan to split power on the committee between Stark and Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan. Pelosis backers said that what she really wanted was to avoid a fight for the gavel and that she succeeded by refusing to apply a heavy hand.
But a veteran Democratic lawmaker told POLITICO the denouement was an indication that things arent all hunky-dory.
That episode came immediately on the heels of Pelosis 180-degree turn on Rangel. After the ethics committee admonished him for breaking House gift rules, Pelosi issued a public message that she would stand by Rangel until the committee completed its look at other allegations against him.
Well just see what happens next and what comes out of the ethics committee, she said then.
But politically vulnerable Democrats sent a message right back: They would dump him if she didnt.
Before leaders could gather last Tuesday to plan their week, politically imperiled Democratic lawmakers from around the country were making clear that they would vote with Republicans to strip Rangel of his chairmanship if Pelosi didnt avert a floor vote by getting him to step down.
Even on legislative matters, Pelosi has been subject to low-grade insurrections. She was unable to send a $15 billion Senate-passed jobs bill directly to the president because members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the conservative Blue Dog Coalition and the Transportation Committee objected to some items that were in the bill and some that were absent.
CBC members said the measure shouldnt even be called a jobs bill because, in their view, it would do little to create jobs.
Pelosi satisfied enough recalcitrant Democrats to amend the bill and send it back to the Senate last week but not before 38 defections from the ranks of conservatives and CBC members put the measure in jeopardy on a procedural vote.
Nancy Pelosi is a little bit like a Forest Service warden during a particularly dry summer in which there are little blazes springing up all over the place. Some of them can be easily contained, and others could grow into pretty serious forest fires, said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Baker said Pelosi is not weaker than before but that the dynamics have shifted for her in short order.
Her grasp is somewhat more tentative, Baker said. The obstacles that face her are just much more imposing than they were as recently as two years ago.
Those obstacles include a tough election cycle and House Democrats desire to retaliate against the Senate for moving too slowly or too far to the middle. But when they vote no whether theyre angry at Pelosi, the Democratic-controlled Senate or President Barack Obama it is Pelosis tally that suffers.
Theres little room for the speaker to brook challenges on the controversial overhaul of the nations health care system, but her spokesman, Brendan Daly, said hes not worried about residual effects of the Ways and Means Committee shake-up.
I dont think any of this was a challenge. As [Pelosi] said, now thats behind us, and were going to move ahead, Daly said. Were on the cusp of historic health reform, and shes going to work very hard in the next few weeks to make sure that happens.
Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the left-leaning Brookings Institution, said its hard to say Pelosis grip is slipping, because she never ruled with an iron fist.
Pelosis strength has always been her ability to understand the diversity within her caucus and to figure out a way to bring [people] together when the tough votes come down, Mann said. I dont see any change in her standing. She never had the capacity to issue orders.
To be sure, Pelosi has pooled an immense reservoir of goodwill over the years, first as a talented rank-and-file Democrat and later as the leader who positioned Democrats to win, and then expand, a majority. Even in tough times, most of her fellow Democrats believe Pelosi is on their side.
People know that her heart is right, said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
But that hasnt stopped even some of Pelosis allies from bucking her in recent weeks.
In insisting that his resignation of the Ways and Means Committee chairmanship was only temporary even though there is no such provision in House rules Rangel said, I wrote the letter and I wrote what I meant, and I said what I meant. If theres anyone that needs clarification, its the speaker, not you.
hmmm....Politico setting up the Fall Gal for when the votes aren’t there on the 18th?
But for a year she’s said she “has the votes”. ?
Nancy Pelosi is a little bit like a Forest Service warden during a particularly dry summer in which there are little blazes springing up all over the place. Some of them can be easily contained, and others could grow into pretty serious forest fires,
It’s enough to make one become an arsonist...
The single absolute worst Speaker of the House. Evah.
She is like a lion tamer inside the cage and the lions are begining to understand there are blanks in the gun.
Indeed. It’s all good.
Paging Smokey the Bear.
She is a liar and a witch.
Maybe we will be fortunate enough to see her dive headlong into complete madness and hysteria. She has always appeared to ‘be on the edge’ ready to plunge. I knew another woman like that once.....so completely absorbed in power grabbing, evil and hate she would actually melt down in front of others; screaming and throwing true fits.
Only in Pelosi’s case, it will be a public/nationwide spectacle.
Look at her pic on drudge, reminds me of the Emperor in the Star Wars movies. Just as evil
In the words of one of the Founding "Arsonists":
"...it does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority to set bush fires in people's minds"
-- Samuel Adams
Slipping like her grip on sanity slipped long ago?
Seriously, she is a threat to Americans’ prosperity, peace, and general wellbeing.
Code Red - House Target List on Health Care
The National Republican Congressional Committee has published a target list on health care. In addition to continuing to contact the five Tennessee Democrat Congressmen, you can go http://www.votervoice.net/link/clickthrough/ext/94697.aspx to contact some of these targets. Much of the talk following Obamas announcement has focused on how to defeat this second bill through reconciliation, but that is misleading because the first step to defeating Obamacare is not by concentrating on defeating the fixer bill but by defeating the Senate bill in the House when it goes to the floor for an up-or-down vote on Thursday, March 18th.
Rep. Lincoln Davis 202-225-6831 Columbia office: 931-490-8699
Rep. Jim Cooper 202-225-4311 Nashville office: 615-736-5295
Rep. Bart Gordon 202-225-4231 Murfreesboro office: 615-896-1986
Rep. John S. Tanner 202-225-4714 Jackson office: 731-423-4848
Rep. Steve Cohen 202-225-3265 Memphis office: 901-544-4131
Defeat Obamacare call list: Courtsey of TN Eagle Forum: List now contains the new MAYBES culled from FR posts.
PLEASE CALL! DC OFFICE LOCAL OFFICE State District
Harry Mitchell (202) 225-2190 (480) 946-2411 AZ 5th District
Gabrielle Giffords (202) 225-2542 (520) 881-3588 AZ 8th District
Ann Kirkpatrick (202) 225-2315 (928) 226-6914 AZ 1st District
Jerry McNerney (202) 225-1947 925-833-0643 CA 11th District
John Salazar 202-225-4761 970-245-7107 CO 3rd District
Jim Himes (202) 225-5541 (866) 453-0028 CT 4th District
Alan Grayson (202) 225-2176 (407) 841-1757 FL 8th District
Bill Foster (202) 225-2976 630-406-1114 IL 14th District
Baron Hill 202 225 5315 812 288 3999 IN 9th District
Mark Schauer (202) 225-6276 (517) 780-9075 MI 7th District
Gary Peters (202) 225-5802 (248) 273-4227 MI 9th District
Dina Titus (202) 225-3252 702-256-DINA (3462) NV 3rd District
Carol Shea-Porter (202) 225-5456 (603) 743-4813 NH 1st District
Tim Bishop (202) 225-3826 (631) 696-6500 NY 1st District
John Hall (202) 225-5441 (845) 225-3641 x49371 NY 19th District
Bill Owens (202) 225-4611 (315) 782-3150 NY 23rd District
Mike Arcuri (202)225-3665 (315)793-8146 NY 24th District
Dan Maffei (202) 225-3701 (315) 423-5657 NY 25th District
Earl Pomeroy (202) 225-2611 (701) 224-0355 ND At-Large District
Steven Driehaus (202) 225-2216 (513) 684-2723 OH 1st District
Mary Jo Kilroy (202) 225-2015 (614) 294-2196 OH 15th District
Zach Space (202) 225-6265 (330) 364-4300 OH 18th District
Kathy Dahlkemper (202) 225-5406 (814) 456-2038 PA 3rd District
Patrick Murphy (202) 225-4276 (215) 826-1963 PA 8th District
Christopher Carney (202) 225-3731 (570) 585-9988 PA 10th District
Paul Kanjorski (202) 225-6511 (570) 825-2200 PA 11th District
John Spratt (202) 225-5501 (803)327-1114 SC 5th District
Tom Perriello (202) 225-4711 (276) 656-2291 VA 5th District
Alan Mollohan (202) 225-4172 (304) 623-4422 WVA 1st District
Nick Rahall (202) 225-3452 (304) 252-5000 WVA 3rd District
Steve Kagen (202) 225-5665 (920) 437-1954 WI 8th District
Bart Gordon (202) 225-4231 TN (MAYBE)
Bart Stupak (202) 225 4735 MI (MAYBE)
Brian Baird (202) 225-3536, Vancouver, (360) 695-6292. Olympia, (360) 352-9768, (MAYBE)
senator mark begich (202) 224-3004 toll free. (877) 501 - 6275 just became a MAYBE
John Tanner (202) 225-4714, Union City, (731) 885-7070, Jackson Phone: (731) 423-4848, Millington (901) 873-5690 TN (MAYBE)
Jason Altmire 202-225-2565, Aliquippa, 724-378-0928, Natrona Heights, 724-226-1304 (MAYBE)
On the Bubble (Major developments from the yes and no columns in the House)